Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Q&A with Craig Phillips: Building Homes, DIY, and Frenchic Paint

Craig Phillips is well known as a builder, DIY and property expert and has presented numerous television programmes. He was the first winner on Big Brother in 2000 and now he and his wife produce how-to videos at Mr and Mrs DIY on YouTube and TicTok  and he is also an ambassador for Frenchic paints. He talks to Lynda Clark about his interesting career, his first home and gives some brilliant advice for first time buyers

Tell us about your first home?

CP: I bought my first home in Newport, Shropshire which was a complete wreck. I had been living with my mum and stepdad in a pub which they ran, and they planned to retire so I had to find somewhere to live. It was a four bedroom detached house which I bought 25 years ago for £68,000! I had to do quite extensive work on the roof, the windows and the doors, which were not high enough quality to comply with the mortgage company’s rules. So, I secured the sale of the property and did £12,000 of work before they agreed to give me a mortgage. Once I secured the mortgage I replumbed the house, rewired the electricity, installed a kitchen and a new central heating system. I also got rid of the carpet and wallpaper which looked like it had been around since the 1940s. Then I built a workshop on the land. For about four months  I lived in a caravan while trying to make the home liveable. I spent weekends and evenings after work renovating the property and ended up spending around £70,000 on it. I still own the house and rent it out now.

Tell us about your current home?

CP: It is very different and a very unusual shape and size. I found a plot of land which was big enough for what I wanted and ticked all the boxes. When I bought my first home I had certain criteria and all these years later it is just the same. I wanted it to be detached with boundary fences and trees, have a driveway and space for a workshop. There were actually two detached houses on the land with two garages when I bought it and I re-designed it and got planning to build one big house on the same footprint and then to add a bit extra. It took over two years to get it through before we could start digging out the foundations. During lockdown it was the perfect opportunity to get stuck in and do some of the snagging. At one point I was working on it for 100 hours a week so I actually enjoyed taking some time out and recharge the batteries.

Tell us about your very successful Mr and Mrs DIY on YouTube?

CP: I have got years of DIY experience and my wife, Laura, was taught DIY by her dad, which she loves and is passionate about interior design and is never shy with a hammer! We decided to share our dedication to drilling, hammering, painting and so we decided to create our own videos to help everyone turn their house into a home. There is loads of inspiration and helpful and practical advice from building confidence in the basics, to DIY hacks and helping your money go further, which is so  important at the moment. We are very keen that people can renovate old furniture or buy from second-hand shops and bring things back to life. Actually, anything built 60 years ago is very solid and will last a very long time. It’s so inexpensive to transform furniture so it’s much better on the environment and on the pocket. We have over 10,000 subscribers with around 600,000 views and 4.5 million viewers on TicTok as people love to learn a new skill. They are educational but in a fun and practical way, so they are very easy to watch.

You are an ambassador for Frenchic paint – can you tell us about that?

CP: We absolutely love working with Frenchic paint. The company was launched in 2014 and manufacture both chalk and mineral paints which can be used to upcycle furniture. The paint is of a very high quality and completely eco-friendly and very, very easy to use. They have many different ranges with a fantastic range of colours too. I have been using Frenchic paint for many years and it ticks every box imaginable. It’s so easy to apply with a brush or a roller and you can even use it with my favourite applicator, spray paint technology. Because it’s eco-friendly it’s safe to use around children and animals and you can even wipe off little finger marks. We produce many videos for FrenchicTV and on our own Mr and Mrs DIY show to tell people how versatile it is.

What plans do you have for the future?

CP: I am so happy that we have built our own TV studio at the house so we can produce all our own content from filming to pre-production – it has been amazing. We have six members on the team, and we are growing all the time. We have so many ideas and projects we want to share that there is never a moment we are not working. I’m excited to continue working with Frenchic Paint and the team there. We also have two small children and Sydney, our French Bulldog, so life is hectic!

What advice do you have for first time buyers?

CP: Get on the ladder as quickly as you can. We live in uncertain times with interest rates rising but get a Mortgage in Principal and continue to go ahead if you are financially able to. Interest rates may come down but I would also recommend you get a three or five year fixed mortgage so when you buy for the first time you know exactly where you are financially. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and then get out of your depth and comfort zone and eventually get into trouble. New builds are still looking very popular but if you buy an older property then thoroughly research what you can and can’t do and watch our YouTube channel to learn and get inspiration whether that’s for a newbuild or an older home. Buying your first home is the biggest investment you will ever make so it has to be carefully thought out.

For more insights on DIY, home renovation, and eco-friendly living, visit Frenchic Paint and follow on Instagram: @mrsandmrsdiytv.

Read the full story at First Time Buyer Magazine. Explore more inspiring stories and valuable insights.

First Time Buyer is an exciting bi-monthly glossy which takes a stylish and comprehensive look at all the options available, setting them out in an entertaining and informative way, and helping potential customers navigate their way through what is often a daunting and complex process. We dispel the myths, reinforce the facts and arm the reader with the tools necessary to make their homeownership dreams a reality.

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